Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Christopher Cabaldon

Title: Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair and Professor of Public Policy & Administration

Office Location: 3035 Tahoe Hall & Sac State Downtown 228

Email: cabaldon@csus.edu

Mailing Address: 6000 J Street, mailstop 6081

Office Hours: Mon/Tues 4:00-5:30p (DTN 228); By appointment (3035 Tahoe)

Twitter : @ProfCabaldon

News & Profiles

 PPA296M course promotion

Endowed Chair Announcement
Noted leader Christopher Cabaldon takes over endowed chair
Governing feature
One unconventional California mayor is beating the system
Behind Closed Doors

How West Sacramento plans to become the smartest small city in America

Before Mayor Pete, Mayor Chris paved the way


Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair

A bequest by Hazel Cramer created Sacramento State's first endowed chair. Read more about Hazel Cramer and her inspired generosity here. "Through the Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair, the university is making a commitment to becoming an anchor institution in the region by focusing on long-term, systemic solutions to entrenched social problems. This position is a key part of the university's efforts to engage more with the community."

"The work differs significantly from a traditional faculty member." In conjunction with applied research tackling wicked regional problems, this endowed chair is charged with executing a sustainable plan of action to serve the community. That includes translating research into solutions, creating new work-based learning opportunities for students, developing and implementing innovative educational programs and curricula, and fostering collaborations across the university and with policymakers and the community.

The endowed chair is expected to pursue a high impact applied research agenda which advances solutions. My focus is on complex, wicked regional problems like homelessness, affordability, gentrification, mental health, the future of work, climate actions, mobility, land use and infrastructure, populism and civic engagement, and justice reform.  These are not merely complicated problems. They are rife with multidimensional, intertemporal complexity, and they confound traditional public policy analysis. Our graduates need to be equipped to understand, manage, and lead through complexity.


As the principal approach for this mission, I am developing three related projects as part of an integrated framework solve wicked problems by strengthening the capacity to act, creating breakthrough innovations and prototyping them, making public engagement work better for the public and for its desired outcomes, and developing policy solutions and the networks to support them. Initial work gets underway in 2019-2020 on the three projects: the Policy Prototyping & Innovation Lab (PPIL), the Tactical Urbanism Foundry, and the Civic Design Studio.

Each of these three initiatives promotes three-way engagement between the university, the public sector, and the community.  They will spark projects, internships, network building, and employment opportunities for our students, as well as new research, application, service opportunities for faculty.


Fall 2019

Political Science 180: California State & Local Government

Spring 2020

Public Policy & Administration 210: Political Environment of Policymaking

Public Policy & Administration 296M: Policy Prototyping

A Practitioner's Lens

Prior to joining the faculty at Sacramento State, I worked as a policy analyst, public administrator, and policymaker at the state and local level, both within government and in the private and nonprofit sectors.

City of West Sacramento
Capitol Impact LLC
Linked Learning Alliance
Program Officer
California Education Policy Fund
Vice Chancellor
California Community Colleges
Chief of Staff
Appropriations Committee Chair, CA State Assembly
Staff Director
Higher Education Committee, CA State Assembly

 I've also served in a variety of other government posts as an appointee of four Governors from both political parties, as an appointee of President Obama, and in other regional, national, and international roles.

Made at Sac State

Thirty years ago, I enrolled in the very first class of students in CSU Sacramento's brand-new Master of Public Policy & Administration program. I had earned my Bachelor of Science degree in environmental economics from UC Berkeley and had begun as job as a policy analyst for the state legislature's higher education committee. After completing the degree, I taught sections of the public finance and budget course as an adjunct lecturer, guest lectured in most of the department’s other courses, delivered the commencement address for the college, served on the department’s advisory committee, mentored students and alumni in local and state government, and, in 2018, gave the Dean’s Lecture on political entrepreneurship. Now I'm excited to come home.

Professional Associations

American Society of Public Administration

Association of Public Policy and Management

American Economic Association


Commencement Address
School of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies
California State University, Sacramento
Sacramento, CA, 2013

“The Civil Rights Movements of Our Time”, a speech commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church
Special C-SPAN Broadcast
Birmingham AL, 2013

Lead organizer and presenter on linked learning policy
California State Senate, All-Senator Policy Retreat
Long Beach CA, 2013

“A Hard Reboot of Democracy”
TEDx, City 2.0
Global, 2013

Keynote Address & Moderator
California Department of Education, Regional Workshops on the California Career Pathways Trust
Sacramento, Clovis, Los Angeles, Oroville, Hesperia, San Diego CA, 2013-14

 “Advancing the NextGen of Creative Economy Leaders”
Joint Legislative Committee on the Arts, Hearing on California’s Creative Economy: Statewide Assessment and Opportunities for Growth
Sacramento CA, 2014

“Creating Local Ecosystems for Value Creation in a Global Economy”
National Academy of Engineering, National Conference on Value Creation and Opportunity in the United States
Irvine CA, 2014

“California Education Policy”
USC Cerrell Seminar in Political Leadership
Sacramento CA, 2014

“Pathways to Economic Recovery, Resilience & Prosperity”
League of California Cities
Los Angeles CA, 2014

“Connecting Classroom to Career”
Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Education Summit
San Jose CA, 2014

“Advancing Fairness and Prosperity: How Does the Common Core Lift Your Community?”, keynote address
Governing Magazine, Roundtable on Common Core
San Jose CA, 2014

“Supporting Practice, Policy and Public Will”
Grantmakers for Education, Annual Conference
Miami FL, 2014

“Promising Practices and Key Lessons”
White House Early Learning Roundtable with the Secretary of Education
San Francisco CA, 2014

“Innovation for Organizational Results”
California Department of General Services, Values Speaker Series
West Sacramento CA, 2014

“Measuring College and Career Readiness”
“Future of the California High School Exit Exam”
California State Board of Education, invited expert presentations
Sacramento CA, 2014, 2015

“Technology, Common Core & Key National Trends in Education” (session)
“Reinventing Government” (plenary)
Governing Magazine, Outlook ‘15
National Press Club (DC), 2015

“Green Paths to Economic Growth”
Green California Summit
Sacramento CA, 2015

“A Digital Framework for Certifying Youth Social Capital”
National League of Cities, Big Ideas for Cities symposium
Los Angeles CA, 2015

“America’s Leading Innovations in Food Policy & Practice”
Expo 2015 (World’s Fair), USA Pavilion
Milan, 2015

“Behind-Closed-Doors Insights from California’s Thought Leaders”
Association of Independent California Colleges & Universities, Presidents’ Retreat
Sacramento CA, 2015

“From Theory to Practice: Civic Engagement in the 21st Century”
Code for America, National Summit
Oakland CA, 2015

“Transforming Workforce Development for the 21st Century”
The Federal Reserve, invited presentation
Washington DC, 2015

“Student Success and One Ridiculously Simple Idea”
National Urban League, National Summit on Success of Communities of Color in Higher Education
Washington DC, 2015

“Attracting the Millennial Generation”
Harvard Institute of Politics, invited presentation
Cambridge MA, 2015

Keynote Address on Regions & Apprenticeships
California Workforce Association annual convention
San Diego, CA, 2016

Sustainable Cities
Clinton Global Initiative, national summit, working group panel presentation
Atlanta, GA, 2016

Panel with governor of Colorado, artists Ben Vereen and Ben Folds
Americans for the Arts
Philadelphia, PA, 2016

“Voice of the Future”
Jobs for the Future national summit, closing plenary address
New Orleans, LA, 2016

 “Building Social Muscle to Make Cities Better Places to Live For People Who Live There”
Government Performance & Innovation Summit
Louisville, KY, 2016

“The Crowdsourced City”
New Cities Summit, invited presentation
Incheon, South Korea, 2017

“How Entrepreneurship & Innovation Can Achieve Inclusive Cities”
Innovation Growth Lab, panel presentation
Barcelona, Spain, 2017

“The Middle Skills Workforce”
The Federal Reserve, invited presentation & panel
Austin, TX, 2017

 “Moving Your Age-Friendly Community Efforts Forward”
AARP, keynote
Pasadena, CA, 2017

“Knocking at the College Door: Changing Demographics as an Opportunity to Drive America’s Prosperity”
Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, panel presentation
San Diego, CA, 2017

“Swiping Left on Civic Engagement”
SXSW, featured session
Austin, TX, 2017

Statewide Age-Friendly Summit
Keynote address
Pasadena, CA, 2017

 “Knocking at the College Door: Changing Demographics as an Opportunity to Drive America’s Prosperity”
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
San Diego, CA 2017

“Emerging Local Best Practices for Sustainable Food Systems, Equity, and the Workforce”
Milan Urban Food Policy Pact annual summit, invited presentation representing North America
Valencia, Spain, 2017

“The Changing Portrait of California's Older Adults: Implications for Housing & How We Live”
Sierra Health Foundation/California Commission on Aging, regional summit presentation
Sacramento, CA, 2018

“College & Career Readiness”
SXSWedu, featured session
Austin, TX, 2018

Ayad Al-Qazzaz Dean’s Lecture
CSUS School of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies
Sacramento, CA, 2018

“Democratising Local Development”
New Cities Symposium  on Crowdsourcing the City, invited presentation
London, United Kingdom, 2018

“The Future of Trust”
Institute for the Future
Mountain View, CA, 2018

“The role of cities in the Global Migration Compact”
Plenary panel presentation, representing the cities of the Western Hemisphere
Global Parliament of Mayors
Bristol, United Kingdom, 2018

“Rethinking the Master Plan for Higher Education”
Governor’s Office, stakeholder convening sessions, principal presenter
Sacramento, CA 2018

“Actionable Innovations to Achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals for Quality Education, Good Jobs and Economic Growth, and Reducing Inequality”
World Urban Forum, featured World Stage presentation
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2018

“The Future of Work: Innovations in K-12 and Higher Education”
NewDEAL Leaders Ideas Summit, plenary session
Washington, DC, 2018

“Sustainability, Infill & Brownfields”, keynote address
“Post-Redevelopment Financing: The Latest State and Federal Tools”, panel presentation
California Center for Land Recycling
Carson, CA, 2018

“Design Principles for Agile Innovation in Mobility”
Young Professionals in Transportation
West Sacramento, CA, 2019

“Job Training and Opiod Addiction Treatment”, panel chair
“Dignity, Community, and City Policy in the Age of Automation”, panel presentation
U.S. Conference of Mayors, Winter Conference
Washington DC, 2019

"The Value of Live Music"
Delegation of the European Union, plenary panel
Austin, TX, 2019

"How Americans are experiencing the economy"
South by Southwest (SXSW) invited panel presentation
Austin, TX, 2019

Urban Innovators Panel
Future of Work Symposium
University of Notre Dame, ID, 2019

Autodesk Ideas Driving Change: In-Between Learning & Doing Summit
Boston, MA 2019

Future of Learning Summit, keynote address
San Jose State University, CA 2019

Best Practices in Digital Democracy
Global Parliament of Mayors, panel presentation
Durban, South Africa 2019

"The University We Want"
Regents of the University of California, strategic retreat presenter and facilitator
Arrowhead, CA 2019

"Regeneration of Cities: A Generational Approach"
reSITE International Conference, speaker
Prague, Czech Republic 2019 

California State University Quantitative Reasoning Proposal
Assembly Committee on Higher Education oversight hearing, expert testimony
Sacramento, CA 2019